Things You'll Need
Brass is a very soft metal and care should be taken to cut the brass pipe slowly to prevent crimping or crushing of the pipe. Only friction clamps with wood or plastic jaws should be used to hold brass piping to prevent scarring of the pipe surface.
To prevent damaging the threading, never use iron thread dies on brass pipe.
Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper, and although wrought-iron and galvanized steel pipe are less expensive, both lack several of brass' advantages. Because brass does not rust, it can used in smaller sizes than steel pipe without losing water volume and brass pipe is much easier to thread than steel. Brass piping is used for nearly all plumbing applications and is particularly well-suited for the hot-water lines, where steel and iron corrode and can discolor the water supply. Typically sold in 12-foot lengths, brass piping must be cut to shorter lengths prior to threading for installation, and proper cutting insures accurate installation.
Use a tape measure to measure the length of brass pipe needed and mark the cut line with a marking pen. Be certain to allow for the threading and amount inserted into the fittings.
Secure the length of brass pipe in a friction clamp and tighten until it holds the pipe firmly. Position the cut line no more than six inches from the vise to prevent bending.
Open the tubing cutter to allow the cutting blade and rollers to clear the perimeter of the pipe. Slowly turn the T-handle of the tubing cutter until the pipe sits against the rollers and the cutting blade just touches the pipe surface.
Turn the tubing cutter's T-handle one-eighth to one-quarter turn clockwise and slowly rotate the cutter around the circumference of the pipe. Make one or two full rotations.
Repeat Step 4 until the piece of brass pipe is fully cut through.
Use a pipe reaming tool inserted in the open end of the pipe to remove any burrs or brass filings. Use a piece of emery cloth to remove any flaring at the outer edge of the cut caused by the cutting wheel of the tubing cutter. The piece of brass pipe is ready to be threaded.
Paul Massey has been writing since 2009, drawing on a 35-year career in the construction industry. His experience includes 15 years as a general building contractor specializing in architectural design, custom homes, commercial development and historic renovations.